This superb new biography provides the fullest narrative of Van Dyck's life and personality to appear in English. Commonly pigeonholed as a follower of Rubens or as the court painter of the Stuarts, Van Dyck here appears not only as a remarkably individual portraitist but as a fully rounded baroque artist of memorable power. Robin Blake brings together discoveries about Van Dyck's life and work that have emerged over the past decade, and treats famous and less familiar works as informative sources for the painter's story. Van Dyck was a man who defined himself almost entirely through his work, Mr. Blake writes. The satisfactions he derived from it are the most important keys to his character. The death of his mother when he was seven led to troubling attacks of melancholy throughout Van Dyck's life, which he held at bay by keeping up a punishing work schedule. He knew most of the great men and women of his day, but Mr. Blake's story is also enlivened by glimpses of lesser figures. His prodigious research, combined with his enormous enthusiasm for his subject, has produced an engrossing account of the public and private life of an unusually driven genius. The Literary Review (London) calls the book a robust celebration of a great painter. Antonia Fraser, writing in the Sunday Times, finds it an excellent read...genuinely interesting and well-researched. With 32 pages of black-and-white illustrations.